Grounding Skills

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross was a doctor in Switzerland who railed against this unkindness and spent a lot of time with dying people, both comforting and studying them. She wrote a book, called ‘On Death and Dying’ which included a cycle of emotional states that is often referred to (but not exclusively called) the Grief Cycle.

In the ensuing years, it was noticed that this emotional cycle was not exclusive just to the terminally ill, but also other people who were affected by bad news, such as losing their jobs or otherwise being negatively affected by change. The important factor is not that the change is good or bad, but that they perceive it as a significantly negative event.

People need a PLAN to manage the Grief Cycle triggers that they are aware of or come up with contingency plans for those events that come up without warning.

To manage your responses, you must first recognize them. Become aware that you are beginning to be triggered. Acknowledge what is going on. Identify your feelings. Stop the automatic process and think of your plan. Calm yourself in healthy ways; tune into your body, breathe slowly from your diaphragm, tell yourself reassuring thoughts, and concentrate on relaxing tensed muscles. Use grounding skills (see below) to keep yourself in the “here and now.” And don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

Sit in a relaxed position, with your eyes open and feet flat on the floor
Consciously become aware of everything you see around you, and take inventory of each item, naming what you see aloud or quietly in your mind.
Notice every sound around you and identify what you hear.
Describe what you taste. Sometimes chewing gum or sucking on hard candy can help you focus on your sense of taste.
Identify what you smell and describe it
Describe what you are touching with your hands and your body, being aware of the details of texture, hardness, temperature, and shape of what you are touching.
Practice this exercise several times a day, so that it becomes very familiar to you. Make use of grounding whenever you feel anxious or have difficulty staying in the present.

 

 

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